Tea can counter poison used in terror attacks: Scientists

Updated: Jul 20, 2012, 13:21 PM IST

London: A cup of tea could be a secret weapon to fight poison used in terror attacks if UK scientists are to be believed.

Academics at Cardiff University`s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences discovered a chemical, polyphenol found in tea can deactivate ricin - a highly-toxic ingredient used in fatal terrorist attacks, the `Daily Mail` reported.

"Our new findings suggest that if the security services want to counter the threat of ricin, they may find the answer in their morning cup of tea," Professor Les Baillie was quoted by the paper as saying.

A tiny amount of ricin after getting into the bloodstream can kill a person within two to three days.

Ricin is used in an arsenal of terrorist weapons, and has already been at the centre of a number of attempted terrorist attacks in the US, the report said.

The new discovery follows on from research done by Cardiff scientists which showed chemicals in English breakfast tea known as polyphenols were able to kill bacillus anthracis, the organism which causes anthrax and was used in the 2001 US anthrax mail attacks.